Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side were blown away by a Roma storm in the Italian Capital last night, as they slumped to their first defeat in The Champions League this term and had hopes of topping Group C critically damaged.
The hosts, too hot to handle for their visitors, first took the lead after just 25 seconds at Stadio Olimpico through Stephan El Shaarawy, before doubling that advantage and Diego Perotti adding to it late on.
Whilst being ripped apart in surprising fashion, the away side were exerting a masterclass in how not to defend in a Champions League game, with a defence that had looked so compact previously.
A resounding win for The Yellow and Reds took them to the very top of Group C, knocking the side from West London down to second for the first time and boosting their hopes of early Automatic Qualification to the Knockout Round.
From the start in Rome, Eusebio Di Francesco opted for just three changes to the side that defeated Bologna in The Serie A on Sunday as Aleksandar Kolarov, Radja Nainggolan and Diego Perotti replaced Da Silva Bruno Peres, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Gregoire Defrel.
Also starting for the hosts was former Manchester City man and scorer of a wonderful in the reverse fixture Edin Dzeko, in-form Stephan El Shaarawy and veteran Daniele De Rossi.
Meanwhile, Antonio Conte made just one alteration to his team that emerged 0-1 winners at The Vitality Stadium over AFC Bournemouth on Saturday evening.
Skipper Gary Cahill came back into the starting Xl for Davide Zappacosta, whilst Antonio Rudiger made his first trip back to his former home, Cesc Fabregas made his 100th Champions League appearance and Alvaro Morata posed a threat up-front.
On a chilly night in Rome, the home side would get off to the most incredible of starts as they led before the visitors even had time to touch the ball.
Kolarov, breaking down the left side from the off, found his former City teammate Dzeko, whose backward flick fell on a tee for El Shaarawy with the Italy International striking a fabulous volley into the top corner, giving Thibaut Courtois no chance.
The visitors, who never looked to be lacking too much in the attacking department during the course of the 90 minutes, would go close a number of times in the period that followed.
Most notably through Eden Hazard, as his two efforts were saved by Alisson Becker, but Morata missed the biggest of the chances, while at the other end, Courtois could not emulate his opposite number and the hosts were about to double their advantage.
This time, a long punt forward from Nainggolan was mistakenly left by Rudiger allowing the ball to find El Shaarawy again with the winger flicking the ball skilfully past the Belgian keeper.
The Blues were now in big trouble and tried to pull one back initially through Marcos Alonso as his superb weaker foot effort was saved by Alisson, while Tiemoue Bakayoko headed just wide from the resulting corner.
The other side of half-time, Morata would go close yet again with a low shot, however, it was very much Roma’s night and victory was all but sealed on 62 minutes.
Cesc Fabregas gifted the ball to Perotti in midfield on his landmark night before the Argentina International ran on and fired a terrific low effort that buried in the bottom corner.
There could have been more for the hosts as Perotti should have scored after almost capitalizing on schoolboy defending from the visitors and Courtois denied Nainggolan.
Nevertheless, in the end, the Italians were delighted to take a vital three points in Rome that has placed them as firm favourites to Qualify in a Group they wouldn’t have expected to from, next up for them will be a League trip to Fiorentina on Sunday.
Whereas a shameful defeat on a might where The Blues could have secured their place in the Last Sixteen adds to the uncertainty in West London, things don’t get any easier for the reigning Premier league champions either as Manchester United are the visitors to Stamford Bridge next.